Rover Curiosity fires dart at alien life-form (off screen).
Last November NASA launched the Curiosity Rover, It's scheduled for an August 2012 touch down on the red planet. On this latest mission to Mars, there's an unusual passenger, a 1909 VDB one cent coin is attached to a small plaque connected to the end of Curiosity's robotic arm. "Why would they send a hundred year old penny to Mars?", you're asking. Simple. To determine whether or not an alien culture exists.
Most are familiar with the face shape on Mars, discovered in 1909 by Simon Newcomb, An astronomer who died that same year. His discovery was dismissed by the Astrophysics community and was forgotten altogether shortly after Newcomb's death. In 1976 the face was rediscovered by several interns, which led to the face being imaged by Viking 1. Some believe this face is the work of an ancient Martian culture, but no proof of this exists to date.
It's hoped the penny will attract, what is believed to be by some experts, a subterranean Martin society. The face of Abraham Lincoln has been compared to the Marian face for years and is nearly identical, except for the fact that Lincoln's face is in profile. Astronomers believe that if Lincoln was facing forward, his copper image is a dead-ringer for the Martian monument. The coin will be projected onto a cliff wall in hopes of drawing out a curious Martian inhabitant from its underground lair.
NASA hopes the Rover Curiosity will have the opportunity to fire a small, specialized dart into the alien, in hopes of obtaining a sample of its DNA. The brain would be an ideal target, a sample of Martian brain tissue would be an added bonus. The firing mechanism used will be controlled remotely by a NASA weapons specialist, their timing will have to be perfect, since they'll be firing blindly. NASA will rely on the crunch of steps on the sand, light sensitive solar panels, and the heavy breathing of an alien that lives on a planet with a much lighter atmosphere than Earth. They also hope the Martian will call out with details of the its discovery to others waiting curiously at the cave's entrance. The chances of success are slim, and NASA experts are confident. "No problem," boasts Harris Felix, NASA's Rover Curiosity's trigger-man.
August is less than six months away, so NASA has only a few short months for final preparation. Exciting developments indeed.
Video courtesy of NASA.